Food

Oaxacan-Inspired Goodness in Gowanus

Mole and Lobster Tostadas From Two Union Square Cafe Vets

By Ilana Dadras ·
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Photo: Oleg March

If you've recently murmured the words, "There appears to be a real lack of authentic Oaxacan cuisine in Brooklyn these days, particularly in Gowanus," prepare to eat your murmurs.

Because here's Claro, a shiny, new Oaxacan-inspired spot open now from the guys behind Freek's Mill. 

Now let's discuss a completely fictitious scenario in which you hypothetically experience this joint.

You'll pull up to a space that'll look oddly familiar, if you've ever dined at the Pines. That's because this place used to be the Pines. 

Now it's all reclaimed planks with tiles designed by one of the owner's tattoo artists (he'll also be behind a forthcoming mural) with the general feeling like you're in someone's really ridiculously well-designed kitchen. There's also a backyard, if you make it here in temperate times.

You and your tostada-loving partners will claim a timber two-top or the curved wooden booth up front. Noting that the michelada situation here is strong, you arrange for one with salsa verde, lime and a pink peppercorn rim strong. Your companion feels more in the mood for sotol with blackberries, cilantro and serrano honey. So they ask for the Nectar Negra, being extremely specific about their needs in hypothetical situations.

Those will help ease you into plates piled high with lobster-sweet corn tostadas, mint-cucumber shrimp aguachile and mole-topped Amish chicken with romano beans. One of the chefs has been spending ample time in Mexico for the past decade, so trust you're getting some authentic eats. Oaxacan, Amish or otherwise.

Now let's get you familiar with the look of the place and its consumables, which you'll find right here.

And it feels remiss to discuss an Oaxacan-inspired restaurant without acknowledging last week's earthquake in Mexico that took the lives of many. Our thoughts are with the victims, and we encourage readers to donate what they can to organizations working to aid those in need. Donations to the Mexico earthquake response can be made here by selecting "Mexico Earthquake" in the drop-down menu on Direct Relief's donation page.

Ilana Dadras cannot discern between situations in which sarcasm is and is not appropriate. Her favorite things include mezcal cocktails, Big Sur and writing about herself in the third person.

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